By Joel Iyorwa
I have often found the remarks Jesus made about John the Baptist in Matthew 11 very interesting. In talking about John, His forerunner, Jesus rhetorically asked the question “what did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind?” (Matt. 11:7)
Our modern Christianity is plagued by a characteristic indifference, nominalism, half-heartedness, shallowness and inconsistency. For many people, the Christian life or their walk with God is like an oscillating pendulum, swaying back and forth, here today and there tomorrow, high-pitch last week and low-pitch this week, red-hot a couple of months ago and freezing cold this time around, fiery one day and smoldering the next day. They are like a reed swayed by the wind.
God would not place His confidence in unfaithful ( a word that also means inconsistent) men and women. Proverbs 25:19 says “confidence in an unfaithful man…is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint.” If we are to excel in our walk with God, if we are to step over the threshold of spiritual superficiality and nominalism, we must find consistency with God.
In pronouncing a blessing on his sons while on his death bed, Jacob had this to say about his firstborn, Reuben: “Unstable as water, you shall not excel” (Gen. 49:4) and that still rings true today. Instability, lack of consistency in our walk with God makes it impossible to excel spiritually.
Spiritual excellence thrives on the foundation of stable, consistent and faithful devotion to Jesus. That is what brings the spark to Christian living. We must, as Christians be constantly moving in this direction, finding greater levels of consistency every day in all aspects of our devotion and walk with Jesus.
The backbone of this kind of consistency in the spiritual life is in establishing simple daily routines. Now, ‘routine’ is a word many of us don’t exactly like. We think of routines as boring on one extreme and legalistic on the other. There is however no way around this. Only ‘daily Christians’ are also consistent Christians.
All spiritual giants who have excelled with God either in history or in contemporary times have been people of uncompromising daily routines. They did not fall out of the skies, their excellence in life and ministry were not fruits that came straight out of the blues but as products of deeply established routines.
Prayer was not an epileptic, spontaneous thing they would do when they felt like it or seemed to be in the mood. Bible reading and study was not a haphazard, incongruent activity or something they did once in a blue moon. Fasting was not an unfamiliar experience happened only on the basis of exigency or emergency. We can go on and on about the various aspects of routines that men of spiritual excellence have established in their lives as fertile grounds for their enviable heights and exploits in God’s kingdom.
We cannot expect similar results if we don’t have similar routines. Didn’t Jesus put in place for us the ultimate example? Though He was God while He walked this earth with us, he found dignity in having His own intense daily routines.
One only needs to read through the gospels to notice how often the scriptures would say that “He went out early in the morning to a solitary place and prayed” or He withdrew from the crowd to pray or sent the people away so he could pray. This was not for Jesus simply a matter of the convenience of time and space and emotions. No! It was for him a very significant routine that he was very committed to in a loving relationship with the Father.
We need to seek God earnestly to enter into a whole new level of consistency in our spiritual experiences. We need to become more hungry, more desperate for God in ways that transform our inconsistent, haphazard religious activities and Christian duties to loving daily routines and passionate disciplines. When we have come to that point, we will have come to a watershed moment in our spiritual lives where the Christian experience makes more sense and wields impact all around.